Unemployment numbers

Well, I figured it was still bad even though hiring is picking up a little bit, but I didn’t know it was this bad:

More people have jobs in America this month than they did last month, so says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

But the headline unemployment rate of 8.3% isn’t the whole story.

It’s not that there wasn’t positive news. The addition of 243,000 new jobs far exceeded economists’ expectations for an increase of 150,000. It was the seventh straight month of increases of 100,000 or more.

And yet buried in the BLS report are numbers that paint a different picture.

One of the main reasons the rate dropped, in fact, is because the BLS stopped counting nearly 1.2 million people as part of the labor force.

That’s a record. It puts the labor force participation rate at a 30-year low of 63.7%, significantly below the long-term average of 65.8%.

While it’s true the official number of unemployed fell from 13.1 million in December to 12.8 million, it helps when you simply don’t include 1.2 million in the equation.

“This is not a fundamentally positive way to see the unemployment rate fall,” Jason Schenker, president of Prestige Economics, said in an email to clients.

3 thoughts on “Unemployment numbers

  1. Not too surprising, really. Off the top of my head I know 4 people who desperately need work and are looking hard but their 99 weeks are up and are no longer being counted.
    I used to be one of them as well.
    ‘Dropped out of the labor force’ or ‘Stopped looking for work’

    BS. I cannot believe everybody is using these BS phrases. As if all of a sudden you don’t have to eat, pay rent, etc. As if all of a sudden everything is well again and you stop looking for work. As if you didn’t need work after all.

  2. I have plenty of anecdotal evidence that things are still going downhill. Almost everyone I know, with exception of teachers and gubmit workers, have had their employment or business situations compromised recently.
    Your mileage may vary…..

  3. At some point we should also look at real wages versus relative wages and how most of the surplus value (extra profits) have been going to the top 1% for the past 40 years. It’s not a coincidence that as productivity has increased over this period workers income has fallen. Which is why the middle class has shrunk, poverty has increased, and the top 1% is much wealthier. The economics of Capitalism ain’t rocket science. It’s just that the Capitalists make it a point to keep the 99% in the dark about how it works. Rotten, corrupt, bastards.

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